Someone I adore is in love with a person who is in love with both her - and his own addiction.
I remember my heart thinking (do hearts ever think?) that this was a battle I could win. I remember the sobs racking my body at my first and only al-anon meeting. The hopelessness. The confusion. The anger.
"All he has to do is quit," I told myself. "Why isn't he doing that?"
I booked a session with a woman who specialized in things like that. Surely she could teach me how to navigate these waters. Passing me a massive box of Kleenex and boring her eyes into mine, she told me: "Laura, I hear that he loves you. AND his primary relationship is with the alcohol."
But for sure, given the option, he would choose me. So I gave him the option. And he didn't choose me, even though I know that it broke his heart. I was not his primary relationship.
This morning, I receive an email from a former client, one who had once hurt like I once did: "Laura, (my husband) and I are doing great. He is three years sober as of this August. A wonderful guy, he is happy and strong, and we are both happy that things turned out as they did."
Yes, it happens. And there is no knowing when it will and when it won't. There is just the humbling, life-altering reality of being in love with someone who is in love with something else.
Today, for those of us who are hurting, not understanding, or understanding too well and not knowing whether to stay or to go, I say: I am sorry that it is so hard. I am sorry that your heart is breaking and I am sorry that love has turned to pain. Please do not ever feel embarrassed for loving. Please help yourself to the help you need. And please remember that whatever it is... it is all "for now."
Sitting in the hospital cafeteria outside the cardiac surgery room, I look around at all the people buzzing about. Doctors, nurses, and people like me, waiting for someone they love to come out of the big doors so that we may eventually feed them a couple of cups of tapioca pudding.
Hopefully, in two hours, I will be doing just that, with an extra one for me.
This cafeteria is an interesting place, much lighter than the pre-op area and yet it holds a flavor of intensity.
For some reason, my mind makes its way to a piece I wrote a few years ago, about our life chapters, about our us-of-the-past. I pull it up and read it. Then I choose to share it again with you today.
I hope you enjoy it.
I really didn’t need a reason for this trip. Who needs a reason to visit Hawaii? But I still came up with a few: I hadn’t been back in twenty years, I wanted my kids to see “it,” and mostly I wanted my kids to know “it,” this thing that I had only ever found on these little islands, this heady blend of peace and vibrancy, this Hawaii-ness.
So a few days ago, we boarded a plane, and for the last couple of days we have been high on the sun, the smells, the water, the “it,” too.
But as soon as we landed, I knew that none of the above were the full reason why I was here.
I wanted to catch a glimpse of her. To say hello. And more if she would let me.
As soon as we landed, I started to look for her.
I looked for her at the airport, and I looked for her in the Honolulu rush hour traffic where she used to ride her moped. I looked for her at the foot of Diamond Head - where she spent important time - and I looked for her in the hills of Kahala. No luck.
Not only could I not find her, I really could not feel her.
On the North Shore, among the little tiny beach houses and on the side of the road where she spent time working on movies ... I looked. Nope.
Yesterday, we went to the house where she used to live — her sweet little house on the hills of Haleiwa Heights, overlooking the city. At first, I thought the house had been torn down, but it turned out that there it was, the macadamia nut tree twice as big as I remembered it and all the plants all around so much lusher. We even talked with the lady who lives there now.
But even there, in that place that she loved so much - nothing.
The rest of the day, I looked for her on the beaches of Waikiki and in the waves where she used to spend a lot of her time, but she wasn’t there.
I had to have known that. I had to. But I guess I didn’t. Somehow, I thought that she had stayed here and that while I was busy building businesses, raising children, dodging raindrops and getting older, she had kept on living wild and free, riding her moped from beach to beach, taking each hour at a time, and wearing a tiny bikini.
So here I am. As the sun rises over Kailua this morning, I know that the next few days will be different. Wonderful and different.
I don’t need to look for her anymore. I just need to love her.
Hers were powerful times of growth and searching, and while I have lost a little bit of her magic, I know that I have found a lot of what she was looking for.
In the end, it is possible that it may have been more important to come all the way here to say goodbye than to say hello...
So goodbye, my sweet darling. You were beautiful and courageous, and I know, a little lonely sometimes, too. You had so many lessons ahead of you and the fact that you did not know it was very possibly what allowed your magic to flow so freely. Really, you were perfect just as I am today. Just as we all are.
And while I would love to fit in your bikini again, I am so very grateful for the peace I have found in its place... there is no substitute for it.
I love you.
Here's one thing I notice: Life often likes to send us messages in a very organized way, kind of like a savvy teacher who will introduce us to the same lesson using different modalities, yet point out the thread between all of them.
A few days ago, a friend of mine sent me a photo of a brick wall. On it were painted the words: "Strangers who smile when you make eye contact with them are so important." I love that.
It reminds me of the look on my youngest son's face when he was about three years old, and his grandma had warned him to not talk with strangers. His little brow was scrunched up, and he seemed to wrestle with a big confusing question. When I asked what was going on, he looked at me and asked: "Mom, if I never talk to strangers, how am I ever going to make new friends?"
A couple of hours after the photo was sent to me, an email shows up from one of our Happyville residents (XXX).
"I went to New York recently for my niece's graduation from medical school. We extended the trip to do sightseeing and take in the local flavor. Our niece rented a flat for us in Brooklyn near where she had lived during school. We went to her favorite food places and local establishments as well as to the typical tourist destinations - naturally, all were within walking distance.
The first morning out and every day after, we passed many people on the streets, people looked serious and only made eye contact for a split second, if at all. I was all smiles because of the excitement of the trip, but also because I am generally cheerful anyway. I noticed that no one in our stand-out group of eight greeted nor acknowledged the people we passed. I asked my niece if it was unacceptable to greet people on the street. She said it would be considered abnormal behavior. I did not care for that very much, so I went ahead and smiled at people and said good morning or hello. Low and behold, EVERYONE whom I acknowledged softened, smiled back and returned my greeting. I don't know if anyone in my group noticed, but it was like my little joyful secret that enhanced my trip considerably.
If I hadn't been exposed to Happyville, I probably would have kept my gaze down and silently passed all the locals on my trip like everyone else. I would have missed out on spreading kindness, and I certainly would have missed out on bridging the gap between 'us' and 'them.' A smile and a kind word work magic. Thank you for the inspiration to step out and reach out. I thought I was giving, but I got way more back in return."
Same message, same day, from two people who don't know each other. My guess is that was something I needed to pay attention to, that day.
Today, I invite you to playfully notice the recurring messages coming your way.
From words to a song, to words on paper, to words from strangers... what are you ready to energize and deepen, right now? What stands out for you? And then: who do you want to share it with?
Of course, I also invite all of us to smile at strangers.
"Every time I read your blog I am so profoundly happy I did. The truth you speak is just mindboggling. The real, real voice you have. It makes me almost crazy how much I love your words and your way of telling stories that cut to the quick- and I never have the words to really say how much this all means to me.
Thank you for digging in there and finding the gems of wisdom and then just sharing them out as if there's an endless supply ... which with you, there is."
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"Thank you for sharing your wonderful, heartbreaking, exhilarating experience with the world."
"Thank You Laura for sharing, for teaching and spreading loving kindness. "
"I think I love you. You bring good things into my life, or remind me of things I love and know, but have let go of."
"Laura, you are so good for me. I laugh and sniffle and get the shivers when I read your essays. Thanks so much for letting all your wonderfulness run around loose."
"Heart-achingly beautiful, your words and how you reveal your truth."
"Thank you so much for who you are and what you share with the world. Your mere being transforms lives as it has transformed mine. This particular post did to my heart what water does to parched soil."
"Thank you for your gentle words that are packed full of wisdom. I have been struggling with the concept of what words can do to another person when they are negative words. Your words are the flip side of our word power, and shows how delightfully powerful kind words can be. Thank you."
"Once again Laura Lavigne takes you on an adventure of the heart. She has a way of pulling you right in the car with her. Asking you to consider changing a fear to taking thoughtful action. Whether she's teaching a class, leading a retreat or heading for a happiness sprinkling, Laura will invite you to shed old ways of thinking and be completely authentic. Join in!"
"Essentially pure love.
I enjoy how Laura is kind to herself and to us other humans who dance in and out of each other's lives. "
"Don't miss a post!
You can count on Laura for warmth, humor, charm, and a lift to your day and your heart. She inspires me to be braver than I am, and to love the world out loud. She's a gem, and a generous one at that!"
I write because this is the way I am able to taste life more deeply.